Search This Blog

Saturday, 9 April 2011

As If You Haven't Read This Already.

This is a post I drag out every year for April 9th, slightly amended for 2011.  If you’ve read this every year for 6 years, know that I cherish you and you can move on; if  it’s your first go, be prepared  for sentimentality:

April 9th is a very special day in my life.
In the sixth year of my first marriage, my husband was very taken with a story of a child who was available for adoption. In those days, most Canadian newspapers displayed pictures of children chosen by the Children’s Aid with a little story about the child’s background, and solicited enquiries from interested potential parents. Intrigued by a photo, he wrote in and we were duly contacted and investigated by Children’s Aid.

By the time the bureaucracy was behind us, a shockingly efficient 5 weeks, the child was no longer available for reasons unknown to us, and we became resigned to being childless, as we were leaving in a few weeks for a posting to Europe.

We had sold our car and put our belongings and papers in order, had even had a few goodbye gatherings with our friends when on a Friday, I got a call from our social worker to say that there was a child we should see in Hamilton; she gave us some background and dropped over a picture of a sweet-looking child with one of those vulnerable-looking shaved-sided haircuts, and a T-shirt that, heartbreakingly for me, had I Love Daddy printed on it. She said that we could see him the next day if we could get to Hamilton—a two hour drive. We had friends staying with us that weekend who were happy to make the trip, so we left at 9:00 and went directly to the Children’s Aid offices there, feeling excited and nervous, not wondering at the fact that Saturday was an unusual day for a child visit.

We met with the social worker, who told us a bit about the parents in this “case”, the child’s history of being shuttled back and forth between foster homes and his grandmother’s. More nervous than ever, we settled in our very utilitarian and straight chairs, waiting to see the “child”. What burst through the door and headed straight for my husband was an 18-month old, darling round-cheeked baby still at the lurching stage, babbling about his toy—the most pathetic sock-monkey you can imagine. I was totally and irrevocably in love.

His name was Chris, and we were allowed to take him out for a walk, and to meet our friends who were at a nearby Macdonalds chewing on their fingernails.

I can’t remember a word that was said, nor what our hopes were, but when we got back to the office, the social worker asked us if we’d like to take Chris home. There was absolutely no question, although we were astonished at how quickly everything was going, so, in a daze, we went back to Macdonalds while the social worker got Chris’s belongings (which arrived in a smallish green garbage bag), and Chris showed a preference for fries with ketchup. He launched himself from one table to another, fries in one beautiful little hand, a new truck in the other, and totally won our hearts.

We were home, with our new son, before 5 o’clock the same day, and our house was full of friends and family, boxes of pizza, new and old toys, a toddler’s bed, a kid-size hockey stick, four new pairs of pyjamas, a high-chair, balloons and an incredible level of energy, love and excitement. I can still feel it, and it’s unlike any other family-friend event we’ve ever been involved in.

Although April 9th is not his birthday, it’s still special for us.  Chris is 40 something this year—and he’s still lovable, still my joy and my worry, lovingly adopted by each of my husbands and a good if annoying brother, a loving father, a fun uncle and a sweet and caring family guy.  And every April 9th, as on the birthdays of my daughters and on our anniversary, I think how random and surprising life is and I can’t believe my good luck.
Chris then.
Chris as an adult (not his favourite picture).


  1. I'm kind of teary right now. I wonder if I was last year too?

  2. How have I managed to miss this, after reading your webpage for years? Wonderful story. Magic.

  3. I've read this every year you post it and the story still never gets old :)

  4. I love this story. Out of all your posts this is my favorite and I enjoy reading it every day. I have no doubt I, like I do every year, will be re-telling your story to someone in the next few days.

  5. I've read it before, re-read it today, and will read it again next year, with a tear in my eye.

  6. Hi Lorna, I've found my way here via Five Star Friday.

    Your story is so sweet and reveals a time when child adoption was much more straightforward than it is today. Obviously, having just found you I've never read this story before, but repeating it every April is a wonderful idea.


  7. I love this story every year, Lorna. Thanks for retelling your love story. I bet Chris feels very loved every time he reads it.